Shifting Consumer Behavior to Address Climate Change

In the recent years, many companies such as Microsoft, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Walmart have committed and planned to reduce carbon emissions or becoming carbon negative in the next 5-20 years. Despite their actions, we still need the help of businesses, government and even consumers to combat climate change. Regarding that, 5 psychological factors that contributed to consumer purchasing behavior. Social influence, Habit, Individual self, Feelings and Tangibility are the factors. Each of them plays a specific role in determining the purchasing habit of the consumer.

Social Behaviors

Attitude, expectation, and action of people around our community usually is the main influencer for our habit and behavior. When it comes to purchasing behavior different sources including family organizers or advocates, social media influencers, and others in a community really determines on what we bought. Regarding climate change, there are still not many social media influencers who really lift this issue. Because climate change is a collective action, meaning that an action from many social influencers eventually will motivates people to do the same.


Habits are uncontrolled behaviors (automatic) because we always do it regularly thus it became a habit. In our daily life, people usually consume animal meat, use private transportation everywhere regardless the distance and high energy usage.  Each of those activities caused 51, 571, and 149 kg of CO2, respectively, per individual or household. It is not easy to change someone’s habit. So, the goal is to develop new habit that is more climate friendly.

Individual Self

People are always keeping a good image of themselves. In other words, people are motivated to keep a good personal image in other people eyes. Thus, motivation can make someone to act according to their will and objective resulting oneself as a good person. When people are motivated to increase their awareness on climate changes. When those motivation kicks in, they will tend to consume climate-friendly products. Besides that, when consumers feel a sense of ownership into something, they will give more attention, love, and care to those things. If oneself has sense of ownership on climate. Then they will give more love and care when the climate is changing.


Consumer purchasing behavior are influenced majorly by feelings. Positive emotions such as happiness, hope, liking and other positive effects really boost someone’s mood to purchase something. If it is directed on climate-friendly products such as solar panel installation can lead to feelings of hope and climate policies. consumer behavior. Other example is by purchasing plant-based product, it also can lead to hope on fixing climate issues. Negative emotions, such as shame, guilt and fear on climate change can also force someone to purchase environmentally friendly product.

Tangibility and Conclusions

One way to increase climate-friendly behavior is to make the outcomes of actions more concrete and tangible. In the end, Social influence, Habit, Individual self, Feelings, and Tangibility are all promising routes to climate-friendly consumer behavior. However, these 5 factors cannot be solely judged because there are still other factors, call it X factor that influence customer purchasing behavior, lets just say lust is one them.

Source: Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 42, December 2021, Pages 108-113
Image by: unsplash.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *